Olympic Opener Will Be Spectacular But Not Secret

London
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A third act will tackle the regeneration of east London, where the Olympics are taking place, as parkland and a creative heartland, home to many artists, designers and Internet startups.

There will be vignettes drawing on British history — Boyle's people-power version of it — including Depression-era jobless protesters and nurses performing a tribute to the National Health Service, founded in 1948 to provide free health care for all Britons and now a much fought-over national institution.

Performers dressed as miners and factory workers have also been seen going into the stadium, and one set piece is a model of the Empire Windrush, a ship that brought hundreds of Caribbean migrants to Britain in 1948.

According to the Sunday Times, one section will feature characters from children's fiction classics including "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan" — and a showdown between Voldemort, the villain of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books, and a horde of flying magical nannies based on Mary Poppins.

Boyle has stressed that the ceremony is not a concert — "the real stars are the athletes" — but music will play a key role, with musical direction by electronic duo Underworld, who have worked with Boyle since his 1996 movie "Trainspotting."

Music heard coming from the stadium in recent days ranges from "Jerusalem" — of course — to songs by The Beatles, The Who, the Sex Pistols, and Vangelis' theme from "Chariots of Fire."

There are also songs by newer acts, including Dizzee Rascal and Tinie Tempah, two homegrown stars forged in the gritty London environment that Boyle is celebrating.

The final act will be former Beatle Paul McCartney — due to lead the audience in a sing-along of "Hey Jude," with thousands of voices urging "take a sad song and make it better."

Final touches are still being put on the show, with a technical rehearsal scheduled for Monday evening and a final dress rehearsal on Wednesday. Boyle has already cut a stunt bike sequence to try to keep the show to its allotted three-hour running time so everyone can use public transport to get home.

Boyle's spectacle is only part of the Summer Games opening ceremony, much of which is dictated by Olympic protocol.

There also will be a parade of athletes from the more than 200 participating nations, speeches by dignitaries — including the queen, who will officially declare the games open — and of course the lighting of the Olympic cauldron.

The identity of the torchbearer who will ignite the cauldron it is the most closely guarded secret of all — and so far, that has not leaked.

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Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless

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